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Russian Troops Begin Withdrawal from Base in Georgia


Russian forces have begun withdrawing from a Soviet-era base in Georgia.

A train carrying tanks, armored personnel carriers and other support vehicles left the base at Akhalkalaki Monday on its way back to Russia.

Under an agreement with Georgia, the base will close by the end of 2007, while a Russian airbase at Batumi will close by the end of 2008.

Meanwhile, negotiators from Georgia and its breakaway region of Abkhazia have met in Tbilisi Monday for talks on security, economic and refugee issues.

Officials from both sides called the United Nations-hosted talks productive. The discussions were the first after a five-year break

Abkhazia has acted as an independent state since it drove out Georgian troops in the early 1990s. However, it is not recognized by other countries, and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has pledged to bring Abkhazia back under central government control.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.
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